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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  September 25, 2009 1:00pm-2:00pm EDT

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because the secret got out that we knew iran found out that we knew of their secret facility and there was this concern among the united states, great britain and france that iran would go public first with the atomic agency and try to report about this facility and put their own spin on it fearing this, that this is what was going to happen and the u.s. started preparing their own case, almost in a proscatorial form. having all the evidence, putting together a very detailed report for both the iaea, the international atomic agency and the other allies that we're working with in our attempts to pressure iran on the nuclear situation and for folks who aren't following this very closely the p-5 the five permanent members of the u.n. security council the united states, great britain, russia
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and china and the plus one in this case is germany. president obama this morning, of course, was flanked by sarkozy of france, brown of great britain. he also made mention of merkel of germany implying that all four signing on to this statement this line in the sand to iran that they had to come clean with everything immediately with the iaea. as you pointed out in the open, we are now waiting on russia and china. we just got a statement from the kremlin just a true minutes ago and, frankly, andrea t could have been written by the u.s. very similar to the language that president obama used and prime minister brown. they don't like this and they want iran to cooperate immediately and there needs to be an immediate investigation by the iaea and that russia would be fully involved by anything like that. that leaves one other player, that's china. >> we noticed a four-minute very
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intense conversation today between president obama and president of china as the g-20 was opening. clearly, if you take a look, we have a still picture of that up. they were really intensely talking. as your sources are telling you, they are really digesting this information. china usually follows russia's lead within the security council and russia being so forward leaning this could indicate for the first time in years the security council would get behind the u.s. efforts for sanctions. >> for people watching this and wondering, wait a minute, so iran lied and they had this nuclear facility and why isn't there sanctions now? china and russia can stop this and, so, the whole game here is trying to convince russia and china to climb aboard and collectively do this because they believe this is the strongest diplomatic hand that the u.s. could put together. so, with russia, the u.s. briefed russia on everything over the last 48 hours and my
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understanding from some sources that i talked to about this is that russia was shocked by this and they're very upset because the iranians kept this from them and they've been out there defending the iranians. they have been briefed in the last 24 hours and they are digesting it. we may not hear from them maybe until tomorrow. >> all right, chuck, thanks so much. we'll look forward to your reporting all day and on nbc nightly news today. a busy day in pittsburgh. today's charges put iran on the defensive leading into next week's direct talks with the five members of the u.n. permanent security council plus germany. that taking place in geneva next week. with us now, co-chairman and ce of the nuclear threat initiative and the former democratic senator from georgia and chairman of the armed services committee. a lot to digest, not only for china, but all of us. going into this diplomacy, what are the next diplomatic steps? >> chuck said it best when china and russia have to beo onboard.
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being united here is absolutely imparaative and the french and the germans onboard and the russians issued a strong statement and we are in a far better position now than we were two, three, four months ago. iran's flagrant behavior u.n. resolutions and mandates and part of it is because i think the united states is willing to have dialogue and, also, pushing for sanctions. it's not one or the other, it's both. >> how heavy a lift is it for us to say, for the president to say to russia, to the world, we have hard intelligence. and we understand, by the way, that our allies have intelligence that matches this about what is going on near this facility, but after everything that happened with george w. bush and iraq and the wmd and not getting it right, is it harder for the u.s. to take the lead on this? >> well, it certainly is and that's one of the reasons the
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french president sarkozy's statement yesterday at the u.n. was important. >> again, today. >> and again today and gordon brown's statement was important. it's, i think it's instructive here that the united states doesn't have to say everything every time. we need to let other countries speak out, too. and let their outrage come forward, particularly when the behavior is like the iranians and defying their sacred treaty obligations under the nonproliferation agreement as well as defying the u.n. and this is dangerous and we've got to be decisive. as president obama said, words have to mean something and the resolution and security council yesterday that was passed had very strong provisions about members' obligations, not just the big powers, but every member's obligation to cooperate in enforcing international law and certainly the nonproliferation treaty, which is designed to try to prevent not only proliferation but also catastrophic terarism. >> now, what are the things
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ahmadinejad said already today to "time" magazine, it would definitely be a mistake. we have no secrecy and work within the framework of the iaea and does this mean anything that we do not have to inform mr. obama of every facility we have. let's listen to this. >> it is definitively a mistake. we have no secrecy. and we work within the framework of the iaea. >> translator: this does not mean anything was done secretly. it just means that we must inform mr. obama's administration of every facility that we have. >> but, in fact, they do. and what president obama said interestingly today, importantly, was that this facility is of the size and configuration that indicates it's a military facility. not the peaceful, nuclear energy facility that iran has long claimed and that iran would have a right to.
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>> well, the president has the intelligence and i don't. but whether it is civilian or military, the obligation is not to do it covertly and the secrecy is the violation because enrichment, itself, even if it's an enrichment facility, is not a violation. it's the secrecy that iran continues to have and the violation of the obligations to report under the nonproliferation treaty that is t the -- which i support of moving towards the vision of a world without nuclear weapons, we can't get there unless we can verify and a political will to enforce. this is a real test, not only of the iranian situation, which is dangerous enough, but of where the world is going in the future and whether we're really going to control nuclear materials and make sure we don't have catastrophes one after another. >> what happens next, though. can sanctions work if iran does not comply and let's say we get
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the agreement of the security council, what kind of sanks and can they work? >> they will have to design the sanctions in a way that really targets, in my view, the iranian military and the iranian government and makes it clear to the iranian people that we're not targeting them. that's difficult because ahmadinejad has lost his credibility internationally to the extent that he had any credibility and this further erodes that credibility but he's also difficulty at home and we really, the iranian people are not our enemies here. the government and the behavior of the government and we have to have those sanctions in a way that really punishes those elements but, clearly, expresses that we're not trying to punish the iranian people, in particularly those who want a better future for their country. >> is there a military option if sanctions don't work? >> well, not a good military option, but we have to keep that on the stove because the way i view it talking first but having sanctions, getting the sanctions
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much tougher and then you build the credibility that you need if you have to and nobody wants to as a last resort take military action. if we take military action, that would be my hope that we would have much of the world with us and this is not defined the united states, per se. this is defying the u.n. that's the behavior here. >> no accident that this facility is constructed very close to the holy city in iran. that would make a military strike for the west much more difficult but does this validate complaints for months, if not years that iran was operating secretly and that u.s. needed to step up to the plate. >> definitely. but a lot of countries saying that and u.s. has been saying that under the previous administration and under this administration. i don't know the location precisely. >> 30 kilometers. >> of course, that could make it more difficult, but i would have to see the intelligence on that to be able to agree with you,
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you're probably right, but i don't know that myself. >> well, if you don't know it, it may not be true. sam young who stays on top of all this. former senator and armed services chairman, the nuclear threat initiative and perhaps we're moving closer to your goal of a nuclear free world. >> one last point, and that is the resolution yesterday had a commitment by the entire security council to secure all dangerous nuclear materials in the next four years. that's been what we, at our organization, nti, have been working on for the last ten years. that is a very big commitment and is the biggest single thing the world can do to prevent catastrophic terarism. it's a big deal. >> thank you, always good to see you, sir. >> thank you, andrea. live pictures right now of the g-20 protest in pittsburgh that is just getting under way. up next, luke ravenstahl who virtually shut down his downtown
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live pictures right now on msnbc as some 4,100 police officers are trying to keep massive protests at the g-20 summit in pittsburgh under control. pittsburgh mayor luke raven stall joins us live. mr. mayor, you have your hands full. everyone is admiring the city, what you've done and doing reports on the greening and the economic revival of pittsburgh but any time you do this, you have to deal with the protests, as well. how is it going so far? >> so far it has gone rather well. yesterday, of course, we had events that popped up in some of our neighborhoods to the police as credit they handled them
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admirably and used a tremendous amount of restraint. we had roughly 40 arrests yesterday in the city of pittsburgh and we also know as you show there are protest marches happening right now and if they remain peaceful they'll be allowed to continue to march, but, of course, if people break the law, we'll act accordingly like we did yesterday. >> what we're told, maybe you can update us on this. some 80 businesses were targeted and 19 vandalized and six banks. anything more widespread than that? what would you call it, a moderate level of damage and disruption? >> very moderate and very minimal. there were windows broken that was the extent of any damage and one corporation had ten windows broken, but, other than that, most only had one window and minor, minor damage. when you consider the events that took place in london last year and some of the other cities previously, we still realize we have a ways to go this afternoon, but so far we've been able to keep damage to a minimum.
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>> and what is your message to the protesters and the people in your city who say we don't want the g-20 and why did you bring these people to town? >> well, we understand everybody has the ability to voice their concerns. i will also note that yesterday we had 12 peaceful protests. the footage that you see is the one that went awry and the one protest that shows to cause damage. the reality is, despite that activity yesterday, despite what's happening today, this is a chance for pittsburgh to shine. the global world is here in our city. they're shining brightly on pittsburgh because the president chose us because of the wonderful things that we've done here because of the transformation of this city. that's the good positive news that we're able to get out leading up to the summit and during the summit today and we hope to capitalize on as well in the future. >> just to make, underscore that point. your unemployment is high, but it's at a lower level than the national average. you have come up with green jobs
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and jobs in education and in the medical sciences and all sorts of new industries so that the decline that came during those rough years when, you know, you were transitioning from steel into other industries has really been transformative for pittsburgh. >> it has. you're correct. our unemployment rate is 2% below the national average and we reinvented this economy. we, in the early '80s, had the decline of the steel industry and we have steel manufacturing and also hi-tech, bioeducation, health care, financial services and that diversification and that balancing of our economy has allowed us to survive this economic downturn and be very well positioned, specifically when you compare us through many rough belt cities throughout the northeast. >> what did the president say to you, i'm sorry about the steelers at dinner.
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>> he had to rub it in that the bears beat us last weekend and i was unprepared and didn't have a quick response. but it is great to have him in pittsburgh, both him and the first lady and the leaders from across the world here in our fine city and everybody raved about how wonderful a time they had in pittsburgh and we're really excited that they're here. >> thank you very much. thanks for taking the time today. >> you're welcome. thanks for having me. >> you bet. and today secretary of state hillary clinton said we'll wait and see what iran says during next week's meeting. the meeting taking place in geneva allowing the world time to diguest today's disclosures. president of the institute for science and international security. knows more about iran's nuclear energy than anybody else so, let's go at it. what do you think, if the u.s. is correct and the allies and what they're claiming this facility is. what is the worse-case scenario
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about what iran might be able to achieve. >> i think you have to conclude that this facility would be part of some kind of break-out strategy of iran. to be able to take their low-enriched uranium from their facility. >> which was a previously known facility. >> discovered and then enrich it to weapon grade and quickly try to make nuclear weapons. >> they have managed the technology of getting it to the stage where they could very ran rapidly enrich weapons grade. >> this facility is sized to do that kind of enrichment. you have to worry that iran never intended to reveal its site. keep it in its back pocket and made a decision to make nuclear weapons. >> having cheated twice, at least twice that we knew of, now this new facility, assuming the
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intelligence is correct, what kind of disclosures from iran to the international inspectors and to the rest of the world will get it out of this box and avoid sanctions? how do we trust them? >> i don't think you can. i think one requirement is that iran suspend its enrichment program and come into -- >> even though it claims it's for peaceful purposes. >> and also they have to allow them in there quickly and the inspecters and make the plant personnel available to the inspectors and also talk about where were the centrifuges come from and they have to, in essence, come clean. we can see they can come clean. caught cheating multiple times in 2003, 2004 and they revealed a lot. obviously, not everything. they didn't reveal plans for this plant. but we know when they're coming clean and i think the whole
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world is watching to see if iran does come clean. >> what are the next steps? what is the range of sanctions that could be contemplated? >> a long list of sanctions. senator dunn talked about you don't want to have sanctions on iran that could really hurt the iranian people, but as sanctions are ratcheted up, some collateral damage, even if you're targeting the government. >> civilian damage. but what kind of things are they targeting? >> limit the supply of gasoline to iran. iran needs gasoline, doesn't make enough, ironically. so, you could limit the supply of gasoline and you could target financial sanctions, such as insurance. you create sanctions so insurance companies would have a hard time insuring ships traveling to iran. a long list of things that could be done to increase pressure on iran and i think most important sanctions would be imposed by
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the u.n. security council and then you'd have the agreement of the entire world to impose the sanctions. even if you don't get that, many things the united states and european allies do to increase economic pressure on iran. >> short of taking military action. >> certainly not desirable. we may end up in a situation down the road where we're looking at iran as an enemy that has to be contained like we contain the soviet union and it will involve, there will be a military strategy to that and an economic strategy and political strategy and iran is not going to be as strong as the soviet union. it will create true hardship on the iranian regime, but they have to make a choice whether they want to go down those kind of paths of containment, isolation or one that will finally cooperate. >> david albright, thank you very much. democrats in the senate, meanwhile, and the finance committee are defying their chairman today trying to get a public option back into the health care reform bill.
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the battle over public option is heading back to a senate showdown. democratic senator jay rockefeller and charles schumer said they will press for a roll call vote on the senate finance committee and it could happen as early as tuesday. the committee will also continue to hack away as hundreds of amendments still pending. ron brownstein the political director joins us now. ron, you have been following the intr intricacies of all this but the senate has not given up on the public option. >> both -- >> problems for the white house. >> both chambers are trying to figure out where they're trying to go. actually, andrea, the story this week is i think democrats are increasingly confident that they will come together as a party on these difficult issues. you still have the public option as one of those. affordability issues and, in
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general, in both chambers, you do see them beginning to envision the path by which they can get this to president obama's desk. this is a change from a month ago. >> what kind of time frame? >> we have a lot of twists and turns in this road yet to go. striking this week and one of the more difficult vote and a very difficult vote for democrats. chairman baucus was able to defend a deal with the drug industry that the white house struck to limit the amount of its contribution to savings on it. that was a sign of democrats basically being willing, although it will come up again on the floor to defend the architecture of this deal. i did a national journal panel this week with a leading liberal and i was struck how much their view of how this progress converged. they both see where these compromises may come. moderates may give some ground on affordability putting limit
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on subsidies and beginning to enter the mind of democrats and they may be able to do it at some point this fall. but it will take a while. >> if the president is perceived on the grand global stage to be leading this initiative against iran, making progress on thrt national affairs, it boosts his standing, really, with his own party certainly in the senate. >> absolutely. part of the complexity of this is that obama now is a 51, 52%, 53% approval rating president, not a 60% and partially because this health care fight has the divide and groups that were dubious of him in 2008, seniors, and that makes it harder for democrats from red states and his own party remains very strong and that is something that gives him more leverage on a bill that is going to have to be passed virtually on a party line vote. >> ron brownstein, a very busy
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day here in washington. fresh defiance and unveiled threat of the president of iran today. mahmoud ahmadinejad says his country is not obligated to tell the obama administration of every nuclear facility it has. up next "time" magazine bobby gauche who spoke to the iranian president just today. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 he neglected to mention tdd# 1-800-345-2550 he also makes money when i lose money, tdd# 1-800-345-2550 withdraw money or do nothing with my money. tdd# 1-800-345-2550 tdd# 1-800-345-2550
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bobby ghosh was part of that interview. talk about good timing. looking at the tape, a real expression on his face, what was it like to be in the room as you confronted him with these latest intelligence in the united states and russia is signing on . >> he started out the interview very confident and very calm and none of that that we have seen before. he seemed completely in control of everything around him and then we asked him about the revelation of the new reactor. we told him that president obama was going to be making a statement about it, even while we were speaking and he was quite taken aback by that. i thought he tried to find an answer for it and he sort of went from being aggressive saying i don't have to tell obama everything about every facility and then he was defensive saying there is no
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secrecy and we were working with the iaea and keeping our end of the bargain that we made with the nuclear authority. i think he was caught without a ready answer. >> in fact, got a little bit defiant. let's take a listen, again, to the translator how he responded to you. >> we disclose information about our operation s and facilities to the iaea -- not that anyone forces us to. this does not mean anything was done secretly, it just means that we must inform mr. obama's administration of every facility that we have. documents of such nature are issued and it simply adds to the list of issues to which the u.s. government owes the iranian nation an apology over. >> did you ever get him to concede anything in terms of how he's going to approach these
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diplomatic negotiation. he will face all the allies in geneva. they'll face the world in geneva next week. do you think that they're ready to deal? >> i think they're certainly taken aback by this. but at the same time, i asked him what he was expecting from the negotiations. he fell back on the familiar position the larger universe and the need for friendship among nations. he did say that iran would be looking for the official right to go up to 20% enrichment of uranium but that is an issue that the middle east picked out. when we asked him about what to expect from the negotiations, he was on much more familiar ground. it's not a new reactor, but the reactor being brought to the world's attention that really threw him. >> fascinating stuff. bobby ghosh, as i say, great timing. "time" magazine, thank you very
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much. ahmadinejad is now we believe sitting down with reporters, as well. including our own ann curry. look for more on that coming up on nbc. up next, pat buchanan and david bonnier on what is next. new crest pro-health enamel shield
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let me share with you guys something medvev said to pittsburgh students yesterday. he said i am very comfortable with communications with the president of the united states for several reasons. we are of the same generation and we have the same kind of education. when i'm communicating with the u.s. president, i get the feeling he is listening. he doesn't preach to you as a mentor. he has managed to do other things that others have failed to do. in that case, he was talking about switching on the defense. this is pretty interesting stuff, pat. >> also backhand george w. bush, for sure. i always felt the rusha and united states are naturally allies and russia, ultimately, is part of the west, once you get rid of communism. i think the president helped himself immensely by taking down or not going up with this missile defense and poland and the czech republic against a nonuranium threat. that really set the table for a good relationship. on this thing that happened
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today, andrea. there is really a key question. ahmadinejad and his people were saying they were only going to enrich, they are going to enrich to 5%, which would have been a backup and no great threat. we are saying that this plan is designed to enrich uranium and bomb grade 90%. if that's true, i don't think there is a binine explanation for it. >> when the president said today this is not for peaceful means. that completely undercuts, if it's true and hard for this president after everything that happened with george w. bush to come out believing that he really does have the intel. once they say that, that undercuts iran's defense and everyone has a right to peaceful, peaceful nuclear power. >> that's exactly right and i think in addition to that, i think what's really interesting and pat touched on it and you
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did, as well. how the obama administration, the president has lined this up over a period of probably months, but certainly played out in the last week in the defense missile situation poll in eastern europe and then the speech yesterday which was a very good, forceful speech that the president led on the security council and then again today. on your point on relationships enormously important and, obviously, they like each other and who knows what is going on between medivev and putin. >> that is a very good point. in fact, you and i, pat, watched with ronald reagan when we went to geneva in 1995 and watched that first meeting with gorbachev which the white house has orb straighted to put gorbachev on the offensive and make the older reagan look like the younger, more vigorous, the one without the overcoat. when i talked to gorbachev years
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later when we were doing an interview with him after ronald reagan's death i said, what made you get together? why did you trust him? you were the communist at that point. he said, i liked him. >> reagan said this. >> gorbachev said this. >> when you said i am the anti-communist -- >> i'm sorry, i'm the fervent communist and i said you were the fervent communist and why could you communicate and gorbachev said, i liked him. personal diplomacy matter. >> exactly right. reagan looked at him and said i really believe i could do business with this man. i remember after that first meeting and reagan took a walk with him and told him, said i'm nothing but a hollywood movie actor. those are very good movies, mr. gorbachev. >> is that what we're talking about. >> that idea of gorbachev going back in and saying, look, it's reagan, this is not a monster. this is a decent, nice man and
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that goes not all the way, but goes a long way. a rougher meeting a year later -- >> you're right. >> and i think people respond to obama almost in a similar way because he's a very good listener. when you're with him in a meeting, he listens and he responds to what you're telling him. he's not rigid and the fact that he opened up this discussion with the iranians early on indicates he is willing to buck what had been going on previously with respect to that relationship and people are intrusted in this openness that he has as well as his charm in this situation. >> we only have a few seconds left. david, 86 answers. do you think the lift that he is getting or conceivably gets from a good weekend on the diplomatic front could help him with his own party at least on health care. >> this will help him generally with the nation. i do think he has had a good week and i think what we have
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today has validated his decision to really not put in those missiles. >> david? >> i think it will help him. he has shown leadership here. that's what he is looking for. looking for accomplishments. this leads to that. >> thanks for keeping me straight, patrick. an alleged terrorist will soon be heading to new york to face federal terrorism charges this after surveillance video just showed him buying ingredients to make bombs. plus a new audiotape from osama bin laden, this one with a warning to europeans. what would you say if i told you that drivers... who switched from geico to allstate... saved an average of $473 a year? no way! way. ♪
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new this hour, a federal judge in colorado is ordering the 24-year-old terrorist suspect najibullah zazi held without bail. joining me now is michael sheehan. michael, you know the stakes for new york.
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you ran the terror operations there and of course, in washington. what is the significance of what we are learning about this plan? >> this guy was the real deal and worst nightmare. he had a great deal of leadership. he was trained on the use of explosives. he was procuring the chemicals to create bombs. this is a serious guy and we are fortunate to have him in custody now. >> what about the counter terrorism in new york city. could we have learned more about his other connections? >> we have to look at it in full context. they may have gone to it prematurely, it might have led to a premature arrest. on the other hand, the
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information has improved dramatically. they are an aggressive organization. he was coming to new york city in front of the general assembly, the president and they might have been a little aggressive. they errored on the side of caution. it's a positive manner. >> we have a new audio tape from osama bin laden ordering european countries to withdrawal from afghanistan. this, as there's been a weakening of nato resolve. u.s. decision makers are really in a bind as to how to get enough troops in to meet what the commanders are demanding. >> yeah, it's interesting timing for bin laden to come out with this tape. in the west, he doesn't have the operational ability like before 9/11. he does remain very viable in pakistan, in the southeastern
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afghanistan. he's trying to play that card. i don't think it's going to have much impact on the european nations decision making. again, it's aimed to rally his base and show he's still relevant. >> finally, iran and developments today. u.s. intelligence has taken a battering over the years. the interrogations the eric holder decision. if this holds up and, it's hard to believe barack obama would permit himself to go out on the world stage with false intelligence. if it holds up and is validated, iran and what this72íf discove means is a big advance for u.s. intelligence. >> it is. it's a major coup, it's been battled for years. what's important for the revelation is not only did they come forward, they came in lock
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step with the french and germans, it's not easy to do. they feel they have a strong case. it's going to pin them against the wall. this is going to enable to u.s. to put a great deal more pesh sure on them and hopefully with sanctions that have peace in them and put pressure on the iranians to take a different course. we'll see, in the weeks ahead whether it's going to transpire or not in the security council. >> the israelis are very quiet today. netanyahu is back in israel. they are not putting out statements. they would rather let the u.s. and europeans take the lead here so it did you want look as though it's another threat from israel and confrontation on that level. >> that's right. they are noticeably quiet and have been beating the drums in the past month warning in
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unsubtle ways they were considering military action. americans have been trying to keep them calm as they continue to take this diplomatic approach. they are going to lay low and see how it unfolds. by the october 1 meeting, they are going to watch closely to see if the u.s., french and americans can bring the russians forward. if not, we will hear from them in early october. >> it's a major day. we thank you so much michael sheehan for joining us and working through it. that does it for me this hour. i'm andrea mitchell, live in washington. stay tuned. next, monica and john harwood and the president's news conference, 4:30 today here on msnbc.
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immediately to restore confidence. >> i ran's nuclear program is the most urgent challenge the world faces today. >> a secret underground nuclear facility. this is world leaders gather in pittsburgh to talk about iran and the state of the global economy. the health care debate continues to rage on the hill. the poll numbers say all the talk is confusing americans more than ever. good day. >> i'm john harwood of cnbc coming to you live from pittsburgh where the g-20 convened. this is the "new york times special edition." on the front page this hour, the
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story that's rocked the world. iraq's nuclear facility in extremely pointed language, president obama and french president sarkozy said to open it to inspectors. they denounce what they say is iran's defiance to the international community. >> iran's decision to build, yet another nuclear facility without notifying the iaea represents a challenge to the compact of the center. these rules are clear. all nations have the right to peaceful nuclear energy. those nations with nuclear weapons must move toward disarmorment. those nations without nuclear arms must them. >> the scale of what we believe is the breach of international
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commitment will shock and anger the whole international community and harden our resolve. confronted by the serial deception of many years, the international community has no choice today but to draw a line in the sand. >> translator: we cannot let iranian leaders gain time while the motors are running. there is not an in-depth change by the iranian leaders sanction will have to be taken. >> all right. iranian president, ahmadinejad is now talking to reporters saying president obama is going to regret the statements he made about nuclear enrichment with the new reactor. let's bring in helene cooper to talk about it. how serious and how different is this from what we have known in the past? >>

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